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Vincennes University Track & Field: Capello shatters NJCAA National Record, Men's distance dominates

February 3, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS – Vincennes University freshman Matteo Capello (Turino, Italy) was the star of the meet at the Indianapolis Greyhound Invitational shattering the NJCAA national pole vault record with a jump of 17 feet 4.5 inches (5.30 meters) on Saturday. He also broke the VU school record and has quickly established himself as one of the best track and field athletes in the NJCAA in his short VU career.

Capello joined former VU standout and NJCAA Hall-of-Fame athlete Natalia Bartnovskaya who still holds the women's NJCAA pole vault record she broke in 2011. Now both the men's and women's NJCAA records are held by VU student-athletes.

VU Coach Chris Gafner says. . .

"I am really proud of Matteo's effort on Saturday. We knew a NJCAA record was possible this season, but we didn't know that it would come so quickly. He had trouble vaulting at this facility a few weeks ago, but bounced back tremendously well and it just shows how mentally tough he is. Much of the credit goes to our pole vault coach Tim Marsee who is the best vault coach in the NJCAA and one of the best in all divisions in U.S. college track and field. Tim also coached Natalia to her NJCAA record and to have coached both men's and women's record holders is a massive achievement considering the tremendous history in NJCAA track & field.”

Even though Capello's vault was the highlight of the meet there were several other very impressive performances. The men's distance group put on a dominant display taking the first three places in the 3000m. All three Trailblazers ran fast enough to qualify for the NJCAA national championships and were led by sophomore Maxwel Kiplagat (Iten, Kenya) in 8:39.20 (8:33.23 converted, 7th in the NJCAA), sophomore Milan Todorovic (Belgrade, Serbia) in 8:46.43 (8:40.28 converted, 13th in NJCAA), and sophomore Morne Scharnick (Gauteng, South Africa) in 8:50.37 (8:44.27 converted and 16th in the NJCAA.) Kiplagat and Todorovic’s times placed them second and fourth respectively on the VU all-time 3000m lists.

Making Kiplagat's and Todorovic's performances even more impressive was the fact that they doubled back 90 minutes before the 3000m in the 800m where they also qualified for NJCAA Nationals. Todorovic finished a close second in the race in 1:56.23 (1:54.60 converted and 6th in the NJCAA) and Kiplagat was 5th in 1:58.43 (1:56.76 converted and 19th in the NJCAA.

VU Coach Chris Gafner says. . .

"The men's mid-distance/distance crew has been on fire ever since we stepped on the track the first meet. They did such a great job of training hard over holiday break and that gave them the foundation to really hit the ground running. This group of athletes is really special and many of the freshman are really starting to come on as well. I can't wait to see what we are capable of when we race on the 300 meter track at Grand Valley State in two weeks."


"I was really proud of the performances of both our men's and women's teams on Saturday. In addition to the records and qualifying performances we also had a slew of personal and season bests. We have several athletes on the verge of major breakthroughs and that is very exciting. Now we just have to put in the work the next two weeks to make sure we really take advantage of the facilities and competition at Grand Valley State."

See full meet results: Indianapolis Greyhound Invitational

VU Notable Performers

10. Kaylee Lange - 2:35.68
7. Meagan Moreno - 5:32.94
long jump
10. Chloe Knepp - 16 ft. 5.75, 5.02 meters
4x400m relay
4. (Chloe Knepp, Kaylee Lange, Kyra Young, Meagan Moreno) - 4:31.80
Pole vault
1. Matteo Capello - 17 ft. 4.5 in. (5.30m) NJCAA record, school record
5. Cole Sumner - 14 ft. 2 in. (4.32m)
5. Matthew Frazier - 14 ft. 2 in. (4.32m)
4x400m relay
2. (Josh Hodge, Walter Tanui, Josh Pohl, Manamanya Opiew) 3:36.77
3. (Jahod Fair, Damien Ross, Nick Riggles, Chase Knoblett) 3:37.03
Long jump
2. Anthony Campbell - 21 ft. 7.25in (6.58m)
6. Chase Knoblett - 19 ft. 8 in. (5.99m)
High jump
9. Anthony Campbell 5 ft. 8.5 in (1.75m)
9. Josh Pohl 5 ft. 8.5 in (1.75m)
Shot put
5. Ryan Golliher - 46 ft. 7.5 in. (14.21m)
Weight throw
7. Ryan Golliher - 49 ft. 10.5 in. (15.20m)
2. Milan Todorovic - 1:56.23 NJCAA qualifier
5. Maxwel Kiplagat- 1:58.43 NJCAA qualifier
7. Manamanya Opiew - 2:00.67
10. Walter Tanui - 2:03.74
1. Maxwel Kiplagat - 8:39.20 NJCAA qualifier
2. Milan Todorovic - 8:46.33 NJCAA qualifier
3. Morne Scharnick - 8:50.37 NJCAA qualifier
60m hurdles
4. Nick Riggles - 8.96
7. Jahod Fair - 9.04

Next up
VU will compete at the NJCAA Region 2 Championships at Grand Valley State University Feb. 14-15.

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Vincennes University Newsroom
Vincennes University Trailblazer Athletics

JAKE JACKSON, Assistant Sports Information Director

812-888-6831 office,,

MARCIA MARTINEZ, Sports Information Director & University Life Reporter

812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell,,

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of Sports Information,

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